Smart business owners know the benefits associated with an impactful brand. It helps stakeholders connect with a business’s character and culture, which conveys deeper insight into the product or service. It allows employees to find meaning in their day-to-day accomplishments, knowing they work for a company with a clear vision and relatable values.
If the above statements are true, why doesn’t every business have an impactful brand?
Because creating one isn‘t easy. The process requires a balance of creativity and strategy.
At Red Rocket, we’ve spent a lot of time working with successful businesses to create appealing brands and refresh existing ones that clients, employees, and other stakeholders love to support.
In this blog, you’ll get a close look at our three-phase approach to the branding process. You’ll learn how your values shape the look and feel of your brand, the importance of discovering your brand voice and using it to tell your unique story, and how these concepts come together to create tangible assets like logos, websites, product packaging, and report design.
Phase 1: The Brand Strategy
Remember in high school when the counsellor distributed those career aptitude tests? You’d fill out a survey in hopes you’d be given a list of potential careers suitable for your abilities and interests? There were good reasons for those seemingly menial worksheets. The answers provided clarity and direction for your future, or perhaps reinforced what you already knew and gave you the confidence to pursue it.
In a similar manner, during our initial strategy sessions in phase one, we ask a lot of questions and gather information in order to clarify your brand’s goals and values. They provide the foundation required to develop a comprehensive brand strategy. This strategy then informs our design decisions. Throughout this process, we:
- Interview key stakeholders to understand the goals and values you have as a company.
- Research and interview prospective customers to understand what they’re looking for in your product or service.
- Study the competition and determine your unique advantage over the rest.
The result is a document that unifies the brand and its mission. It includes:
- Brand overview
- Position statement
- Marketing objectives
- Target audiences
- Competitive advantage
- Brand character
- Unique story
Did we mention it was comprehensive?
Phase 2: The Naming Process
With the brand strategy complete, we have a map and a destination. Now it’s time to plot the course. There are as many approaches to naming brands as there are brand names. However, in the decade-and-a-half we’ve spent working with businesses, we’ve developed a process that consistently produces stunning results.
(Often, clients already have a company or product name and aren’t in the market for a new one. If your company or product already has a great name, we would continue straight to phase three.)
Discovering the Brand Story
It begins with a story. The Brand Story is expressed in one sentence—though it’s rationale could fill a book. Sometimes it's a tagline and other times it’s aspirational. It’s easy to talk about, whether the speaker is the President or a Sales Associate. And, its emotional content is felt by the buyer.
To achieve this, we gather, evaluate and interpret the data affecting buyer expectations and perceptions. From this information, we storyboard to visualize the right name for the brand.
This is the stage of free flowing creative ideas where anything and everything is experimented with and considered. Joseph Heller, famously known for his book Catch-22 and less famously known as a copywriter, called this stage “a controlled daydream, a directed reverie.” The end goal is to produce a brand story that:
- Inspires and engages potential customers and decision makers.
- Effectively conveys the brand values, brand promise, and unique brand story.
- Reflects positively on the brand and brand promise.
- Showcases and adds context to the brand aesthetic.
A strong brand name conveys emotions like quality, reliability, and clarity. To ensure the name you choose is as dynamic and effective as possible, you need the right process in place. A process that leads to a name that is a powerful component of your brand strategy, and paves the way for buy-in throughout your organization.
We work with your business’s leadership to understand what you’re looking for in a brand name. These are the categories we consider during our process:
- Appearance – How does the name look? Are there any great visuals that immediately come to mind when thinking of the name?
- Distinctiveness – Will it stand out in the marketplace?
- Depth of meaning – A name with multiple connotations is more memorable.
- Energy – Does it feel vital? Does it feel like it has “life”?
- Humanity – Is the name approachable?
- Positioning – Is the name relevant to your company’s positioning?
- Sound – How does it sound when spoken aloud? Is it easy to say?
- And finally, is it available for trademark?
The process is iterative: Based on previous findings and discussions, each option is presented to you with an added layer of detail.
A project we did for a well-respected senior’s care facility demonstrates this beautifully. See the case study here.
Phase 3: Developing a Brand Identity
In phase three we put pencil to paper and start the design process, exploring various logo concepts and the graphic treatments for each.
The graphic treatment includes considerations such as colour palettes and typefaces that bring out the brand’s character and correctly position the company.
We’ll then present you with unique and fully developed creative directions. Our presentation includes supporting visual elements and provides examples of each logo option applied to real world situations. This assists you in seeing how the logo looks in different scenarios relevant to your company.
Our creative process builds a brand identity system that supports the brand idea. All options express the vision of your company and provide a strong visual identity that firmly positions your company against its peers.
Once we agree on a brand identity, these designs become real. We create a graphic standards manual (GSM), which presents an overview and best use practices for the visual assets of your brand.
The GSM includes usage guidelines for core visual elements of the brand such as the logo (including additional logo orientations such as horizontal, stacked, and simplified), colours, and typography.
Following a comprehensive GSM ensures that all visual representations of your brand are consistent. Consistency breeds trust, which in turn creates loyal customers.
Every successful business needs an engaging brand. Without one, your company may risk appearing irrelevant, out of date, or simply confusing to your stakeholders.
We’re here to ensure that doesn’t happen. By helping you develop a deeper understanding of your own brand, its values and its purpose—and by designing a dynamic brand identity that you and your stakeholders can be proud of, you’ll be able to make a bigger, more lasting impact within your industry.
Principal & Marketing Strategist A results-driven creative thinker, Perry is a marketing management professional with a proven record of achievement in Strategic Planning, Team Leadership, and New Concepts Development.